Verse > Anthologies > T. R. Smith, ed. > Poetica Erotica: A Collection of Rare and Curious Amatory Verse
T. R. Smith, comp.  Poetica Erotica: Rare and Curious Amatory Verse.  1921–22.
By Aleister Crowley (1875–1947)
(From The Soul of Osiris, 1901)

TURN back from safety, in my love abide,
Whose lips are warm as when, a virgin bride
I clung to thee ashamed and very glad,
Whose breasts are lordlier for the pain they had,
Whose arms cleave closer than thy spouse’s own!        5
Thy spouse—O lover, kiss me, and atone!
All my veins burst for love, my ripe breasts beat
And lay their bleeding blossoms at thy feet!
Spurn me no more! O bid these strangers go;
Turn to my lips till their cup overflow;        10
Hurt me with kisses, kill me with desire,
Consume me and destroy me with the fire
Of blasting passion straining at the heart,
Touched to the core by sweetnesses, that smart
Bitten by fiery snakes, whose poisonous breath        15
Swoons in the midnight, and dissolves to death!
*        *        *        *        *
Turn to me, touch me, mix thy very breath
With mine to mingle floods of fiery dew
With flames of purple, like the sea shot through
With golden glances of a fiercer star.        20
Turn to me, bend above me; you may char
These olive shoulders with an old-time kiss,
And fix thy mouth upon me for such bliss
Of sudden rage rekindled. Turn again,
And make delight the minister of pain,        25
And pain the father of a new delight,
And light a lamp of torture for the night
Too grievous to be borne without a cry
To rend the very bowels of the sky
And make the archangel gasp—a sudden pang,        30
Most like a traveller stricken by the fang
Of the black adder whose squat head springs up,
A flash of death, beneath a cactus cup.
Ah turn, my bosom for thy love is cold;
My arms are empty, and my lips can hold        35
No converse with thee far away like this.
O for that communing pregnant with a kiss
That is reborn when lips are set together
To link our souls in one desirous tether,
And weld our very bodies into one.        40
Ah fiend Jehovah, what then have we done
To earn thy curse? Is love like ours too strong
To dwell before thee, and do thy throne no wrong?
Art thou grown jealous of the fiery band?
Lo! thou hast spoken, and thy strong command        45
Bade earth and air divide, and on the sea
Thy spirit moved—and thou must envy me!
*        *        *        *        *
Our love must lie beneath thy bitter ban!
Thou petty, envious God! My King, be sure
His brute force shall not to the end endure;        50
Some stronger soul than thine shall wrest his crown
And thrust him from his own high heaven down
To some obscure forgetful hell. For me
Forsake thy hopes in him. We worship, we,
Rather the dear delights we know and hold;        55
The first cool kiss, within the water cold
That draws its music from some bubbling well,
Looks long, looks deadly, looks desirable,
The touch that fires, the next kiss, and the whole
Body embracing, symbol of the soul,        60
And all the perfect passion of an hour.
Turn to me, pluck that amaranthine flower,
And leave the doubtful blossoms of the sky!
You dare not kiss me! dare not draw you nigh
Lest I should lure you to remain! nor speak        65
Lest you should catch the blood within your cheek
Mantling. You dared enough—so long ago!—
When to my blossom body clean as snow
You pressed your bosom till desire was pain,
And—then—that midnight! you did dare remain        70
Though all my limbs were bloody with your mouth
That tore their flesh to satiate its drouth,
That was not thereby satisfied! And now
A pallid coward, with sly, skulking brow,
You must leave Sodom for your spouse’s sake.        75
Coward and coward and coward; who would take
The best flower of my life and leave me so,
Still loving you—Ah! weak—and turn to go
For fear of such a God! O blind! O fool!
To heed these strangers and to be the tool        80
Of their smooth lies and monstrous miracles.
O break this bondage and cast off their spells!
Five righteous! Thou a righteous man! A jest!
A righteous man—you always loved me best,
And even when lured by lips of wanton girls        85
Would turn away and sigh and touch my curls,
And slip half-conscious to the old embrace.
And now you will not let me see your face
Or hear your voice or touch you. Ah! the hour!
He moves. Come back, come back, my life’s one flower!        90
Come back. One kiss before you leave me. So!
Stop—turn—one little kiss before you go;
It is my right—you must. Oh no! Oh no!

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.